New York, January 13 – Today was the second and final meeting between NWU and visiting writers and playwrights from the Zhejiang Provincial Writers Association of China. Today’s meeting was hosted by the CUNY Murphy Institute’s US-China Exchange Project. It was an insightful sharing, where in the advent of globalization, the Chinese people and government are making efforts to protect native Chinese cultures, dealing with farmer migration to the cities, and coping with digital technology through an enriching literature.
Project director Diane Frey welcomed the four writers from the Zhejiang Province: Zang Jun, a commentator and vice president of the Zhejiang Provincial Writers Association; Zhu Xiongwei, novelist and vice president of the Ningbo Writers Association; Wang Liansheng, also a novelist and vice president of the Hangzhou Writers Association, and Wang Tianqiang, translator and director of the Zhejiang International Cultural Association.
Over the two days of meetings, the NWU delegation included President Larry Goldbetter, NY Chapter Chair Tim Sheard, Calvin Ramsey, Chris Rhomberg, Wun Kuen Ng, Terry Schwadron, Marivir Montebon, Mauricion Niebla, Roy Murphy and Yusef Salaam. Today’s meeting also included CUNY professors May Ying Chen and William Herbert.
Some of the questions explored were: Are Chinese writers well paid? How is China coping with globalization and urban migration? Is science-fiction used as a vehicle to raise social issues?
Mr. Wang Liansheng said that science fiction stories are very popular in China, similar to Star Wars in the U.S. He noted that social issues are mostly dealt with by other writers. Zhu Xiongwei noted that tens of millions of rural workers have migrated to the cities in the past twenty years, creating “nostalgia” for Chinese culture and tradition, as well as a huge market of online readers. He said that the central government is protecting native cultures by funding local events and spaces (such as temples) and cultural practices so that these art forms remain accessible. “The rural culture is the foundation of Chinese society. The society will be ruined if the culture is uprooted. The rural culture is like the dreamland of the Chinese people,” he said in English translation.
Wang Liansheng said that some writers have as many as 20 to 30 million readers, and they are very well paid. His novel was made into a TV series in his province. As many as 30,000 online writers cater to the migrant readers.
China is one of the world’s largest economies with 1.3 billion people, the world’s largest population.